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Farewell to Ipswich's open-top bus as it fails to meet modern standards

PUBLISHED: 05:30 27 July 2019

Former Ipswich Buses managing director Barry Moore launching the open-top bus route in the town. Picture: ARCHAN FILES

Former Ipswich Buses managing director Barry Moore launching the open-top bus route in the town. Picture: ARCHAN FILES

The weather might have seemed ideal for its trips over the last week - but the open-top bus that has been a feature of summers in Ipswich and east Suffolk for decades has been notable by its absence.

In later years the bus was painted in City Sightseeing livery and also toured Felixstowe and Woodbridge. Picture: ARCHANT FILESIn later years the bus was painted in City Sightseeing livery and also toured Felixstowe and Woodbridge. Picture: ARCHANT FILES

The 43-year-old bus has been sold by Ipswich Buses because it no longer meets required standards - and the company is not replacing it because a new vehicle would not be economically viable.

Ipswich Buses is owned by the borough council. Its portfolio holder for transport, Phil Smart, said new rules on disability access and emissions made it impossible to keep it on the road.

He said: "It could not comply with the DDA(Disability Discrimination Act) and to get an exemption from that you would only be able to operate it a very few days a year. That would be totally uneconomic for a comparatively small company that has to operate on quite tight margins.

"When it was introduced the financial constraints were not so tight, now things are very different and sadly the company simply cannot afford to run the bus."

The open-top bus route went over the Orwell Bridge. Picture: ARCHANT FILESThe open-top bus route went over the Orwell Bridge. Picture: ARCHANT FILES

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The bus was originally converted from a standard double-decker and carried the standard Ipswich Buses livery.

Later Ipswich Buses linked up with the City Sightseeing group and it was re-branded and did tours of the Felixstowe and Woodbridge areas during the summer as well as Ipswich itself.

Mr Smart said: "The bus was offered to the Ipswich Transport Museum, but they already have a restored Atlantean (the type of bus it is based on) in its original state in their collection and they simply did not have the space for this.

"But it has been sold for preservation to a private collector. It should still have life in it - it certainly won't be going to the scrapyard!"

Among the most popular routes taken by the bus during its service in Ipswich was a circular sightseeing trip including a journey over the Orwell Bridge - passengers were advised to hold on to their hats as they got a spectacular view over the town and down the river towards Pin Mill and Levington.

The departure of the bus does, of course, mean that if Ipswich Town does win promotion from League One at the end of the season they will have to hire one from somewhere else if they want a celebratory tour of the town!

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